Jul 28 , 2023
Is there a Montessori method to tell a child no?
When parents learn about Montessori, they realise that it is all about providing their children freedom and independence. So, when it comes to Montessori discipline, parents may be perplexed and sick of saying no, of having rules because they know "punishment" is not the answer.
However, in Montessori education, we think that freedom has boundaries. We give children as much freedom as they can handle and are not afraid to say no, but we are careful when and how we do it. In fact, there is a Montessori method for establishing boundaries.
Limits are permissible
Setting limitations offers a fundamental life lesson: we cannot have everything we desire. Children require adequate boundaries.
Perhaps you are hesitant to set limitations because you dislike saying no. Perhaps you were reared by harsh and authoritarian parents and do not wish to emulate their parenting style. However, there is a happy medium between being overly strict and too liberal.
So you offer your child as much freedom as she can handle while maintaining safety: safety for the child, safety for others, and safety for the collective good.
When does a youngster understand the word "no"?
The majority of parents who seek advice on how and when to say no have a toddler. And it is the age when a little child does not grasp the word 'no' in the same way that we do.
Children under the age of three have an underdeveloped brain and lack the ability to think. Young toddlers are "programmed" to explore as well. They desire to move, touch, taste, investigate, and comprehend cause and effect. The irony is that your 'no' becomes part of the experiment.
You say 'no' every time they approach the TV, so they repeat that action, approaching closer, looking you in the eyes, expecting for you to say 'no'. "She knows she can't do it, but she does it anyway," you've surely thought. "She's provoking me." She is not deliberately provoking you, but she is testing what she can and cannot do and is happy that her actions elicit a reaction, much like a scientist performing an experiment.
Your child will comprehend the intent behind the 'no' because of the tone of your voice and any action you take to prevent her from doing it. But don't expect her to automatically respect it. It all depends on how you use it - not too frequently and only when absolutely necessary.
The best defence is prevention.
Prevention is always the most effective tool. You will have to set limits less frequently if you create a safe area for your child to explore.
This is simple to accomplish at home. Make certain that your home encourages independence. Keep anything you don't want your child to touch out of reach, and pick your battles. Is it dangerous to climb up the sofa, or is it a habit to say no every time your youngster tries?
In general, I avoid circumstances that a small child cannot handle unless absolutely necessary. I wouldn't take my child to an adult meeting, I wouldn't walk down a busy street, and I wouldn't take my toddler to Poundland with the unrealistic goal of only buying what I need.
Keep your No for your own protection.
When you look at everything through the lens of safety, you will rapidly go through your rules and limit the amount of times you have to say no.
What are your main ground rules? What are you certain you don't want to say no to? Examine whether the restrictions have anything to do with safety. If not, think about whether you truly want/need to encourage them.
When you say no too often, it loses its significance and importance, especially if you say it without conviction or action. We frequently give up because we are unsure why we are saying no.
Explanations that are age appropriate
You don't need to give lengthy explanations to small children under the age of six. Children in the first plane of development must understand and follow family rules because they love, respect, and are attached to their parents.
Children over the age of six will be curious as to why! They are the masters of bargaining. You don't have to explain every regulation to them. For example, if your rule is one biscuit for tea and your youngster requests another, simply reply, "you had one biscuit, we only eat one biscuit for tea." Your child may challenge your rule, and you may need to explain that if he eats more than one biscuit, he will have too much sugar for the day or will not be hungry for dinner.
What to say and do in the event of a "No"
When we discuss "saying no," we sometimes become a little hooked on the term. However, in general, it is about establishing boundaries. What is crucial here is that your child gradually understands why there is a regulation and what he can do rather than what you are stopping him from doing.
So, instead of saying no, try the following:
- "Instead of doing X, let's try..." Instead of yanking the cat's tail, try softly patting it.
- "You should not X but you can X," for example, "you should not throw the books but you can throw your ball."
- "It's not a good idea to X, because we might get hurt" For example, climbing on the table is not a good idea since we can be wounded.
- The oven is hot, and touching it will cause you pain. You are not permitted to touch it.
- Instead of "Don't hit me," try: "That hurts when you hit me, I see you're upset, can you say it with words?" (Make some suggestions to your child).
- Instead of saying, "Don't do that," describe what your youngster is capable of doing. For instance, suppose your youngster sits at the table. Remove them and explain that the table is for the paper and crayons, and that we will sit on the chair.
When there is a risk, you want your child to understand what he needs to do right away. You must act quickly and will most likely scream and grab your youngster.
However, as your youngster grows more curious and prone to placing himself in danger, I would recommend practising some "dangerous" situations in a safe manner. You might travel down a quiet street, knowing that a car is unlikely to pass by, and every time your toddler tries to step on the road, remind him that "the road is for the cars." Mummy and Dylan stroll down the street."
Redirection and role modelling
Every time you state a rule, you may be required to take action. Young children must embody what must be done. They must understand what you mean. So divert and demonstrate the alternative. Model what you want them to do rather than what they were about to do.